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With the exception of lutetium, all lanthanides belong to the f block. At room temperature, they are shiny metals that usually corrode easily (europium, for example, corrodes in air to form an oxide within seconds.) Most of them tend to be powerful reducing agents and can readily reduce transition metal compounds to the pure metals. Lanthanum, for instance, has a reactivity comparable to magnesium with a reduction potential of -2.37 V for the reaction:
- La3+ + 3e- → La
Organolanthanide compounds are different from their d-block cousins in the following ways:
- They are far more air- and water-sensitive and are often pyrophoric.
- Chemistry in the 0 oxidation state is far more limited. In fact, their electropositive nature makes their organometallic compounds more likely to be ionic.
- They form no stable carbonyls at room temperature; organolanthanide carbonyl compounds have been observed only in argon matrices, and decompose when heated to 40 K.
Metal-carbon σ bonds are found in alkyls of the lanthanide elements such as [LnMe63- and Ln[CH(SiMe3)3. Methyllithium dissolved in THF reacts in stoichiometric ratio with LnCl3 (Ln = Y, La) to yield Ln(CH3)3 probably contaminated with LiCl.
Certain powdered lanthanides react with diphenylmercury in THF to yield octahedral complexes:
|Core organic chemistry||Many uses in chemistry|
|Academic research, but no widespread use||Bond unknown|